Loose Ends

Willie Doherty (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


Exhibition at Matt’s Gallery , London of Loose Ends, a two-screen video installation and related photographic works.

Shot on locations in Donegal and Dublin the footage depicts two places connected through events leading up to the 1916 Easter Rising and its conclusion. Exploring how people, events and sites associated with the 1916 Easter Rising are remembered and imagined today, Doherty’s asks if a residual response to these events continues to be played out and how the voices and actions of one generation resonate in the unconscious of another.

Gola Island is the largest of Donegal’s small offshore islands, covering about one square mile. Two fishermen from Gola, Charles Duggan and Patrick McGinley were crewmembers of the yacht Asgard, which on the 26th of July 1914 docked at Howth, Co. Dublin and offloaded a consignment of guns and ammunition that would subsequently be used in the Easter Rising of 1916.

The final days and hours of the Rising unfolded in and around the Moore Street area of Dublin. Escaping from the GPO after it caught fire following a bombardment by British artillery, volunteers made their way to Moore Street and tunnelled through the terrace, making number 16 their final headquarters. After realising they could not escape without causing further civilian deaths, Pádraig Pearse issued the order to surrender from 16 Moore Street.

Filmed in 2016, Doherty uses his camera to examine the material evidence of how these places look 100 years after those events. A slow, extended zoom brings the viewer closer to the surface of existing architectural structures and the surrounding urban and rural contexts while a voiceover explores the fraught relationship between fiction and reality.

The Exhibition is accompanied by the diptych Loose Ends VII, 2016 and the photographic works - Flyover: Ghost Walk, 1985 (2012) and Derry, 1985 (2012)
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputFilm
Sizevideo installation
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017
EventLoose Ends, Matt’s Gallery, London: Loose Ends, 2016, video installation - Matt’s Gallery , 92 Webster Road, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jul 201730 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Willie Doherty (b.1959, Derry, Northern Ireland) continues to live and work in Derry.

His native landscape has been the focus of his work since his black-and-white photographs from the early 1980s. Doherty became known for his photographs overlaid with text, which dealt directly with the language of conflict as it relates to representation of place. He now works primarily in video, and continues with mediations on the changing political landscape of Northern Ireland.

Doherty’s photography and video installations have been included in numerous international exhibitions such as “Cocido y Crudo” at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (1994); “1999 Carnegie International,” Pittsburgh; “XXV Bienal de São Paulo” (2002); the “Venice Biennale” (2007); “dOCUMENTA” (13), Kassel. He has been nominated twice for the Turner Prize; once in 1994 and again in 2003. In 2006, his work was the subject of a video survey exhibition organized by Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City and, in 2007, the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau in Münich and Kunstverein in Hamburg collaborated on an exhibition and catalogue, “Willie Doherty: Anthology of Time-Based Works.” In 2010, Doherty filmed for the first time outside of Ireland and this work, ‘SEGURA’ was shown at “Manifesta 8” in Murcia. In 2016, Villa Merkel in Esslingen exhibited several recent and new video works by Doherty.

In 2011, his work was the subject of one-person exhibition at Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane. “One Place Twice: Photo/Text/85/92,” Doherty’s exhibition of early black-and-white photographs was on view at Alexander and Bonin in 2012. From 2013 – 2014 a major survey exhibition of Doherty’s video and photographic works “UNSEEN” was organized by the City Factory Gallery, Dublin and traveled to the Museum De Pont, Tilburg. In 2015, CAM- Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon presented “Again and Again,” a major solo exhibition of Doherty’s video and photographic works. In 2017, the artist shot a new video work on location in Braddock, PA. This work was included in “so it is”, an exhibition of seven Irish artists at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh.

Nominated twice for the Turner Prize (2003, 1994), Doherty’s work has been the subject of many solo museum shows including Neue Galerie, Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel (2013), The Annex, IMMA, Dublin (2013), Statens Museum for Kunst, National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen (2012), Towner Gallery Eastbourne (2012) Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane (2011) The Speed Art Museum, Kentucky (2011), Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto (2009), Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2009), Lenbachhaus, München (2007), Kunstverein, Hamburg (2007), Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City (2006), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2002). Renaissance Society, Chicago (1999) and Tate Gallery, Liverpool (1999). Group shows include Manifesta 8 (2010), 3rd Auckland Triennial (2007), Venice Biennale 2007, 2005 and 1993, Reprocessing Reality, MOMA PS.1, New York (2006), Istanbul Biennale (2003) and the Carnegie International (1999).


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